Many people think that in order to have an estate plan, you need to have a large estate. That is not the case. Anyone who owns property, has money in the bank, or has a retirement plan or insurance policy needs an estate plan in order to ensure that his or her assets are distributed properly.
Estate Planning | Lawyer in Raleigh NC
The idea of facing your own mortality can be daunting, but it is better to be prepared so that you can decide what happens to your estate should you become incapacitated or die. It’s easy to procrastinate when it comes to planning your estate, but the sooner you take care of it, the sooner you can rest easy knowing that your affairs are in order and that your wishes will be carried out.
In the first part of this series our lawyer in Raleigh NC outlined why it is important to have an estate plan. Now we will take a look at a few common misconceptions people have about estate planning.
The first mistake people make is thinking they do not need an estate plan, especially if they are single or do not have children. Many people wait until they start families to create one, but they should create a plan regardless. If you are married, you want to make sure your spouse is taken care of when you are gone. If you have elderly parents or family members you provide for now, you want to make sure they will continue to have your support.
Another problem people encounter is not planning properly. Working with a lawyer in Raleigh NC can help with this. It is important to have the correct person designated as the beneficiary on retirement accounts or life insurance policies. If you have changes in life, such as marriage or divorce, your beneficiary will probably change so you need to keep those accounts up-to-date. Many times people divorce and forget to update their accounts and an ex-spouse ends up with funds even though the deceased may have wanted it to go to the children.
When planning how your assets will be distributed, it is important to factor in the taxes that will need to be paid. Most estates will not be subject to federal taxes unless they are worth several million dollars, but all estates will have to pay state taxes, which vary.
Your death is not the only time an estate plan is needed. If you become unable to make your own decisions about your health or your finances, you can designate power of attorney so that someone else can carry out your wishes. It is important to have a trusted friend or lawyer who can make decisions on your behalf. These decisions can be about your current financial affairs and choices that should be made about your health. For example, if do not want to be put on life support, you can include a DNR, or do not resuscitate order, in your health care power of attorney.
Meeting with a lawyer in Raleigh NC who can help with estate planning can make the process easier and ensure that you are making the best decisions. If you have complicated assets and aren’t sure what to do, a lawyer can provide you with the best strategies based on your needs.
Eldreth and Eldreth | Lawyer in Raleigh NC
As always, please contact us with any questions or concerns you may have concerning legal issues. Also, contact our lawyer in Raleigh NC to schedule a consultation if you have yet to start estate planning. If you don’t have an estate plan in place or haven’t reviewed yours in several years, now might be the best time to start. Our lawyer is here to help you get your estate planning in order and ready should you pass in an untimely manner or become incapacitated at some point. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to an estate plan. Contact our office today to get started estate planning.
In addition to estate planning, our lawyer in Raleigh NC is here to help you with all your small business needs, trademarking, copyrighting, or DWI issues.